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Abe Obey "Espanola's First Citizen"

(...), very few people know that our very first settler was a man by the name pf Abraham Obey. Abe was of mixed Native and French blood and had arrived at the land along the south side of Webbwood Falls as it was known circa 1895. He has paddled up the Spanish River from the Missionary Settlement at the mouth of the river ans with him had brought two other younger adventurers by the names of Sam Guay and George Cormier. Being of Metis blood Abe set up camp and built a log cabin near the site of the present location of the Royal Bank of Canada and claimed the land around the falls through squatter's rights. Abe was previously married and hs wife had passed on, leaving him with at least two sons and three daughters of which one Ida apparently married his partner Sam Guay and settled on land futher west from Abe's location. His other daughter Maud was born in 1881 and married Abe's other partner George Cormier who was seven years her senior being born in 1874. The third daughter Maggie married Dennis Flanagan on December 22nd, 1902. Leo Foucault relates how later on, his widowed grandmother Marie Foucault later married Abe, who was born in 1849. Leo recalled having heard many stories from old Abe during his youth, concerning the Louis Riel Rebellion which was a Metis uprising, having occurred in western Canada in 1885. Abe probably grew up in that area and was very familiar with all of the participants.

Tim Gallagher

Former President of the Espanola Historical Society (cf. Espanola's facebook page)

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